September 2022 SEO News Recap - magnifying glass on keyboard

Welcome to the final edition of our SEO news recap for 2022! In this roundup November and December SEO news, you’ll uncover the latest news on Google algorithm updates, Google’s latest warnings about plagiarism and duplicate content, a major change to EAT, and more. Use the links below to jump to each news update:

Google Rolls Out Two Major Updates in December

On December 5th, Google announced its first major update to the Helpful Content System.

With the December 2022 Helpful Content Update, the system now covers all languages globally. The update also improves the classifier, making it easier for Google to identify content that was written specifically to rank well in search engines rather than to help human users in an authentic way. Google said the update should take two weeks to fully roll out.

Then, on December 14th, Google released the December 2022 Link Spam Update, which will help Google more accurately identify unnatural links created with the intention of ranking well in search engines. Google stated:

“Ranking may change as spammy links are neutralized and any credit passed by these unnatural links are lost.”

This update also affects all languages and should take two weeks to roll out.

E-A-T Is Everywhere, Now With an Added E!

In November, Hyung-Jin Kim, VP of Google Search, reminded us that EAT (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) is at the heart of everything Google does in terms of search. Google strives to make sure what people see in SERPs is useful and won’t be harmful to a user, so they apply principles of EAT to every query and every search result.

Then, on December 15th, Google updated its Quality Rater Guidelines with the addition of another E for experience. The new question the raters must answer is whether the content conveys first-hand experience – has the writer personally used the product or visited the location? This question is especially important when it comes to reviews of places and products.

EEAT raises the bar for content quality, and if your company hasn’t put an emphasis on EAT yet, we recommend doing so!

Google Releases Its Annual “Year in Search” Review

If you’re interested in learning 2022’s most popular searches by Google users, check out Google’s “Year in Search 2022.”

People around the world searched a wide variety of things, from Wordle to global issues to how to assist a neighbor. This year, the company has added more localized information to its annual review with the local hub. Just enter your city or zip code to learn what the people in your area searched for most this year.

Google Warns Against Plagiarized Content

During a recent Google SEO Office Hours, Google’s Duy Nguyen of the search quality team stated that Google has algorithms that can recognize AI-scraped content and go after it.

Basically, if a website uses artificial intelligence to find and scrape popular content from other websites, plagiarizing those sites, Google will recognize the scraped content and demote the site.

If you see websites that are ranking well in search while using this practice, report the site to Google to help them improve those algorithms.

Google Adds Dynamic Filters to Refine Search

Google has rolled out dynamic filters under the Google Search bar on search result pages to refine topics. For example, if a user searched “dinner ideas,” Google may show filters that can narrow down a search like “healthy” or “easy.” Plus, the refinement can dynamically change as a user clicks.

How does this impact your site? Refined searches can generate more traffic to your site or diminish traffic if a site doesn’t rank for a more focused topic. The key will be watching for fluctuations in top-performing queries to see if the dynamic filters affect them.

Google Releases a “Guide to Google Search Ranking Systems”

Although Google has regularly shared information about updates and changes to ranking systems and how they operate, there is now a dedicated Guide to Google Search ranking systems. Grab a coffee and dig in!

Other useful pages that can help site owners stay up to date on Google’s latest changes include a list of Search ranking updates and an explanation of core ranking systems.

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Continuous Scroll Comes to Desktop

In October 2021, Google announced “Continuous Scroll” became a feature on mobile search. As of December 2022, it’s now a feature on desktop search, too.

You may be familiar with “infinite scroll,” where scrolling goes on seemingly forever. Continuous scroll is similar; however, you have to load more after a few pages of scrolling. This may help users uncover more results than they would have in the past since they will no longer use pagination to see more.

Keep an eye on your Google Search Console data, though. This could have an impact on your impressions, depending on where you show up in the SERPs.

Are Google-Written Title Tags Bad?

Lily Ray asked if when Google overwrites article titles at scale, it means the site has a quality issue. Google’s John Mueller replied that it does not. He said:

“I wouldn’t consider most of those to be quality signals. Good sites have bad title elements, bad sites have good title elements.”

He did caution against keyword stuffing or other tactics that could be quality-related, though. While overwrites can impact messaging and click-through rates, Google is not devaluing your site because of them.

Don’t Index Internal Search Results

Google has never recommended indexing internal search results (site search results) and still maintains that position.

John Mueller reminded us on Twitter that good category pages take the place of internal search results pages needing to be indexed, and that if you need to index an internal search results page, you should consider turning that into a category page instead.

60% of the Internet Is Duplicate Content

According to Google’s Gary Illyes, who spoke at a Google Search Central Live event in Singapore at the end of November, 60% of the internet is duplicate content.

While that sounds extreme, much of the excess content is duplicated within the originating websites. Illyes suggested ways to reduce duplication, including removing protocol duplicates in favor of https, URLs with useless parameters, and slash/no slash variants, among others.

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Tying It All Together: November & December 2022 SEO News

We hope you enjoyed this year’s final edition of our SEO news recap! Stay tuned for more SEO updates in 2023. In the meantime, you can peruse this year’s earlier editions of our SEO news recaps below: